A Ryanair Boeing 737-8AS aircraft was hit by a lightning strike over Cypress airspace on Tuesday night according to news reports. The flight from Riga in Latvia to Paphos was struck just a few minutes before landing.
No injuries were reported, and most of the passengers on board did not realize was happened until after they had disembarked from the aircraft. Technicians in Paphos inspected the aircraft and repaired some minor damage, of a technical nature.
The Boeing 737, like most modern aircraft, is designed to withstand lightning bolt strikes while aloft. Such incidents are actually quite common, and most cause either no damage or only slight problems with avionics or other electrical equipment.
Lightning strikes almost always hit the sharp edges like the wingtips of aircraft, with the electrical charge exiting the tail of the aircraft. The newer planes, like the 737, are made with a lot more composite materials to reduce weight and electrical conductivity.
Atypical weather conditions which have prevailed in Italy, Greece and the rest of the central and Eastern Mediterranean over the last several days has caused some delays and longer hours with flights in the region, as pilots try to route around the stormy weather.